NYT adds editor's note to column that cited academic accused of racist views

NYT adds editor's note to column that cited academic accused of racist views
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The New York Times on Sunday added an editor's note to a controversial column on the intellectual achievements of Ashkenazi Jews published last week, saying it had removed the column's reference to a study that was written in part by an academic accused of racism. 

The Times in its editor’s note mentioned that the reference was removed after the paper’s columnist, Bret Stephens, and his editors “learned that one of the paper’s authors...promoted racist views.” 

“An earlier version of this Bret Stephens column quoted statistics from a 2005 paper that advanced a genetic hypothesis for the basis of intelligence among Ashkenazi Jews. After publication Mr. Stephens and his editors learned that one of the paper’s authors, who died in 2016, promoted racist views,” the Times wrote. 


“Mr. Stephens was not endorsing the study or its authors’ views, but it was a mistake to cite it uncritically. The effect was to leave an impression with many readers that Mr. Stephens was arguing that Jews are genetically superior. That was not his intent,” the editor's note continued. 

The note adds that Stephens’s intent was rather to argue that “culture and history are crucial factors in Jewish achievements.” 

Critics of Stephens's column were quick to point out that the since-removed reference to the 2005 paper was written in part by Henry Harpending, an anthropologist at the University of Utah who died in 2016. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremists, lists Harpending as a white nationalist and a eugenicist.